THE RISE OF THE UNIVERSITIES 151 chosen from among the masters of theology in the university itself, and consequently that he should be as much a university officer as a Church officer. In point of fact, he combined the functions of chancellor and rector, and the proctors who were the administrative heads of the two Oxford nations were subordinate to him as the head of the university. Before the end of the Four- teenth Century, the growth of his authority had proceeded so far that he had become independent of the original episcopal juris- diction, with the happy result that Oxford enjoyed a quite excep- tional degree of freedom and continued to be a centre of fresh thinking after scholasticism had become decadent on the Continent. All the time this constitutional movement was under way, the gradual congregation of students in halls and colleges was pre- paring for a still greater change that was to affect the whole future history of the English universities. These halls and colleges were not peculiar to Oxford. The medieval fondness for life in societies led to the formation of colleges in most university towns at an early date ; and in Paris in particular considerable progress had been made in this direction before the appearance of the earliest English colleges in the latter part of the Thirteenth Century, The first institutions of the kind were the hospices or halls which groups of students carried on for themselves under the presidency of a principal selected from their own number. The earliest colleges were simply endowed hospices, intended by their founders for the benefit of poor scholars engaged in study under university masters. But endowment implied more than a guarantee of revenue. In an age when all benefactions were a form of piety, it gave a religious character to the institution concerned. In this case it led to the establishment, not of a secular lodging-house for students and teachers as it would in modern times, but of what was virtually a collegiate church, only differing from other collegi- ate churches in being " founded ad studendum et orandum instead of ad orandum et studendum.'9 And with this came a new idea of the function of a university college, suggested in all probability by the example of the monastic orders which had established houses for the members of their order studying or teaching in university towns. It became an essential duty of the masters and older students in residence to give educational direction to their juniors and to supplement the ordinary teaching of the university masters by further teaching.